Cloisters items to be auctioned Proceeds needed to help run museum

December 06, 1992|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Staff Writer

Antiques, books, paintings and Victorian-era cast-iron furniture that once graced the mansion that today is the Cloisters Children's Museum will be auctioned by city government early next year to raise money to help run the museum.

At least $700,000 is expected to be raised at the auction, which will be held in three phases beginning in January, said Richard Opfer, the auctioneer hired by the city to catalog and sell the items. The first auction is expected to be held at the Timonium Fair Grounds, he said.

The Cloisters is a Tudor-style mansion at 10440 Falls Road in the Brooklandville area of Baltimore County. It was built in 1930 and bequeathed to the city by Sumner A. and G. Dudrea Parker. The city took over the mansion in 1978.

The auction was approved last month by Baltimore Circuit Judge Thomas E. Noel. Judge Noel was asked to review the issue because stipulations in the Parkers' wills only allow the sale of estate property to maintain the Cloisters museum.

The auction is necessary because the cost of maintaining the Cloisters coupled with budget cuts have strained the city's ability to operate it, said Claude E. Hitchcock, an attorney hired -- by the city to oversee the court action.

It costs the city about $100,000 annually to run the Cloisters. The museum charges a $4 admission fee for adults and children over age 2, but that revenue is not enough to cover a $60,000 annual deficit, Mr. Hitchcock said.

The museum attracts children and others from throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area and sponsors a variety of events.

The 7,000 items to be auctioned have been stored in a large warehouse in the city for years, Mr. Opfer said.

Excluded from the auction will be certain toys, antique dolls and decorations that officials of the children's museum have selected to keep for use at the facility.

It will be the third time items from the Parker estate have been auctioned to raise money to run the museum -- previous sales included coins and artwork from the mansion, Mr. Hitchcock said.

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